Germany: Ex-Jehovah's Witness Causes Massacre in His Community
About 50 people gathered for the prayer session, according to the German daily Der Spiegel.
A former member of Jehovah's Witnesses killed seven people in his former community in Hamburg, in Germany, with whom he was in conflict, before killing himself.
The man identified as Philipp F., 35, is suspected of having killed Thursday evening during a prayer session by the organization four men and two women between the ages of 33 and 60, authorities said Friday.
A pregnant woman injured in the shooting lost her seven-month-old fetus, which local police counted among the casualties, to bring the death toll to eight in total, including the suspected shooter.
The former member of Jehovah's Witnesses killed himself on the spot after the intervention of the police.
Eight people were injured, four of them seriously. The rapid arrival of law enforcement, who interrupted his act, averted an even heavier toll, authorities said. The shooter indeed had plenty of ammunition.
His motives remain to be determined, although he did not leave on good terms from the community, police say . The differing testimonies on the point of knowing if he was excluded from it or if he left of his own free will.
It is misunderstanding in Germany the day after a shooting in a center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Hamburg. Six people were killed in this attack, which was allegedly committed by a former member of this community. The story of Lise Villeneuve.
The man, who had no criminal history, harbored a rage against members of religious congregations, particularly Jehovah's Witnesses and his previous employer, a police representative said at the time. from a press conference.
The police had however received an anonymous letter in January claiming that Philipp F. could suffer from a psychiatric illness without this having been attested by a doctor, as Philipp F. refused to consult a specialist.
The latter shot at participants in a prayer demonstration organized by the community on Thursday evening in one of its centers in Hamburg.
He forced his way into the three-storey building located at the edge of a major traffic artery facing a residential complex and a park. About fifty people according to Der Spiegel were then gathered for the prayer session.
Our son filmed everything, by chance, he could see well from the upstairs window of our house, about 50 meters from the center, Bernd Miebach told AFP.
On the video, we see someone breaking a window, we hear gunshots and we see someone entering the scene, describes the 66-year-old entrepreneur who was not at home at the time.
Jehovah's Witnesses said in a statement they were shocked by the horrific attack on some of their members , which occurred after a religious service.
Law enforcement was called around 9:15 p.m. to gunshots heard at the building in the Gross Borstel neighborhood, a police spokesperson said.
Residents showed their support for the community of Jehovah's Witnesses, which has 3,800 members in Hamburg.
I heard gunshots, I recognized them straight away, because I come from a country at war, a woman told AFP. #x27;about 40 years old wishing to remain anonymous, living near the center.
It lasted several minutes, gunshots then a pause, and again gunfire, and again a pause, she describes.
The police arrived very quickly, maybe 4 to 5 minutes after the shots, says Anetta, a resident of the neighborhood met by AFP while she was walking her dog.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sent his thoughts to the victims of the shooting and their loved ones, deploring in a tweet a brutal act of violence.
Founded in the 19th century in the United States, Jehovah's Witnesses consider themselves the heirs of primitive Christianity and constantly and only refer to the Bible.
The status of the organization varies from country to country. They are legally considered the same as major religions in Austria and Germany, which has just over 170,000 members of this denomination, including 3,800 in Hamburg, according to the Witnesses website.
In France, many of their local branches have the status of religious association, and this rigorous movement is regularly accused of sectarian aberrations.